Triumph T120 Bonneville first ride

Published: 07 March 2016

Live from the launch of the Triumph T120 Black and Thruxton R.

It’s early in the morning in Portugal and Triumph has decided to ease us into the day with a ride on the new T120 Black rather than unleash the Thruxton R straight away. To be honest, I’m pretty happy as there is a bit of dampness in the atmosphere and I’d like to take it steady to start with. And that’s what the new Bonnie is all about – relaxed retro fun.

The new water-cooled parallel twin makes of torque from just 3100rpm in the rev range. This is a bike to simply enjoy rather than rush around on and is basically a grown up and far more adult version of the old air-cooled 900 Bonneville – just without the wobbly chassis!

On the road the T120’s 18-inch front wheel (it wouldn’t look right with a 17-inch one) can feel slightly odd if you are used to 17-inch wheels, but the retro-style Pirelli Phantom tyres grip well enough to allow you to lean it over and scratch the hero bobs while the chassis is far more competent than ever before. The engine, which has a different tune to the Thruxton, is built to make life as hassle free as possible and the torque curve is about as flat as it gets throughout the rev range. For two up or just chilled out solo riding that’s absolutely ideal and it fits perfectly the character of the bike.

The vast array of electronics doesn’t detract from the riding experience, they just make it even easier, and the styling job Triumph has done on the T120 can’t be faulted. If you are a Bonnie, or retro bike, fan who is looking for a relaxed do it all bike with great styling, they don’t get much better than the new T120. And it’s not bad value at all considering its spec. However, I’m more of a sports retro man and that’s why I’m pretty excited that this afternoon we are heading out on the new Thruxton R...